Access point change delight for residents

Cramlington town councillor Loraine De Simone and town and county councillor Mark Swinburn next to the site.
Cramlington town councillor Loraine De Simone and town and county councillor Mark Swinburn next to the site.

Residents of a Cramlington housing estate are breathing a huge sigh of relief following the decision not to allow demolition and construction traffic to go directly through their narrow streets.

In September 2016, a planning application was submitted to Northumberland County Council to build houses on the site of St Paul’s Primary School, Hall Close Dale.

As part of this application, all of the demolition and construction traffic would be travelling through the estate via the narrow Doddington Drive.

Residents were said to be horrified at the thought of the huge vehicles constantly streaming past their property – plus the added dangers of the hazardous waste removal from the construction, now found to include brown asbestos that was banned in this country in 1980 and like all other asbestos materials becomes most dangerous when disturbed.

Residents set up their own action group, supported by their local councillors Mark Swinburn and Loraine De Simone, to object against this, and wanted a more suitable alternative.

Since the school closed last year, the site has been plagued with security issues and vandalism, creating further problems for the nearby residents and finally resulting in on-site security having to be put in place.

Due to the ongoing problems, an agreement was reached between the developers and the owners to bring forward the demolition, which was then due to commence in February.

But with a new demolition application still listing all access routes through the estate, councillors Swinburn and De Simone stepped in and stopped this from going ahead.

After arranging an on-site meeting and walkabout between developers and officers from the county council, they were able to persuade the developers to submit requests for permission to use an alternative access point, which was approved by the local authority earlier this month.

Coun Swinburn said; “I am so pleased with this result and what has been achieved with the continued efforts of everyone involved, and hope this will give some peace of mind to residents.

“Developers need to give more consideration to existing residents and their surroundings when they first put plans together, but in too many cases this appears to be something barely considered.”

Work will now start on the new access point and demolition as soon as possible.